Dr. Tom Johnson Ph.D.
History 17 M-W
25 February 2013
A Short Woman’s History of The United States
Women were not meant to compete with men, to act independently of men, to earn their own bread, or to have adventures on their own. At work, employers routinely paid women less than men for doing the same jobs. Medical and law schools banned female students or limited numbers to a handful per class. Then suddenly everything changed. The cherished convictions about women and what they can do were smashed in the lifetime of many of the women living today. It was the liberation that countless generations of American women had been waiting for, and it happened in our time (Gail Collins, When Everything changed, page 8). However, in the words of Lugenia Burns Hope, black women wanted to “stand side by side with women of the white race and work for full emancipation of all women” (Vicki Ruiz, et al. Unequal Sisters, page 1). In the 1920’s for such an interracial cooperation to take place was highly unusual. American society divided the world into black and white, whether in neighborhoods, schools, churches, or cemeteries. So did the U.S. women’s movement, despite its funding by antislavery activists. For a generation African American women had tried unsuccessfully to gain white women’s support to end racial hatred. Now a small opening appeared. A group of southern white women were willing to help (Ruiz 1). Furthermore, nothing sent the message about women’s limited options more forcefully than television in the 1950’s. TV created the impression that once married, a women literally never left her home. Ever since World War II, women have been bludgeoned into the belief that they can find happiness only by confining themselves to their “feminine” role as wives and mothers. Under the influence of this “feminine mystique,” they have married at an earlier